Posted by: Tony Carson | 27 October, 2007

US States Face Future of Water Shortages

nullBoat houses barely touch the water of Atlanta’s shrinking Lake Lanier reservoir in this aerial view.

It’s scary but is it a crisis?

Many States Seen Facing Water Shortages is a fascinating article about the US water problem:

An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn’t have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes are shrinking. Upstate New York’s reservoirs have dropped to record lows. And in the West, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting faster each year. Across America, the picture is critically clear _ the nation’s freshwater supplies can no longer quench its thirst.

The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.

“Is it a crisis? If we don’t do some decent water planning, it could be,” said Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of the Denver-based American Water Works Association.

Water managers will need to take bold steps to keep taps flowing, including conservation, recycling, desalination and stricter controls on development.

“We’ve hit a remarkable moment,” said Barry Nelson, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The last century was the century of water engineering. The next century is going to have to be the century of water efficiency.”

The price tag for ensuring a reliable water supply could be staggering. Experts estimate that just upgrading pipes to handle new supplies could cost the nation $300 billion over 30 years.

“Unfortunately, there’s just not going to be any more cheap water,” said Randy Brown, Pompano Beach’s utilities director.

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Responses

  1. Much of the world, including large parts of the US, haven’t begun to deal with the realities of groundwater exhaustion, the depletion of their aquifers. The High Plains acquifer is reportedly down more than a hundred feet. Parts of Kansas have run out and will have to go back to prairie grass. Throughout the world, we’ve treated underground freshwater as limitless and we’re going to have to pay the price for that very soon.


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